Category Archives: Five Stars

Don’t Step on the Spider

Don’t Step on the Spider is a charming children’s picture book that educates readers on the importance of life and how every insect benefits mother nature and brings balance to the ecosystem. Kirk Raeber accomplishes this with very easy language and a cute comic art style.

Young Tim is at his grandparent’s house when he decides to go out and play and encounters a spider. He’s about to step on it, like I think most people would do, but is stopped by his grandfather. His grandfather tells him that every creature has a right to live, and to prove his point he takes Tim on a jaunt through the forest to meet many more insect friends.

Every insect they meet along the way is adorable and friendly, and each one explains how they contribute to the ecosystem. There is plenty to learn in this book, even I learned about the importance of ants! This is a great book for early readers or for parents and teachers to read to children. This book provides many opportunities to discuss nature and how everyone has a role. Don’t Step on the Spider skillfully informs and entertains young readers and is one book I can see reading several times.

Pages: 35 | ASIN: B0842DJSWV

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The Vatican Must Go

The Vatican Must Go: An American Tale of Government Power and the Glory of Faith by [D. Grant Fitter]

D. Grant Fitter created a thrilling political that is story full of intrigue, mystery and drama. Fitter’s writing is lyrical and complex and will leave you astonished with the darkness of some moments and how faith on the other hand can be so wonderful. The humans won’t take chances when it comes to survival and we will be in the front row watching a religion versus political war.

The Vatican has always had a greater power in Mexico’s culture and daily life. The United States of America was deeply concerned with the church’s influence in their democracy so they sent a mercenary force to represent them. Little did these mercenaries know that they would find themselves in the middle of a dark and terrible war.

Rosa is without a doubt my favorite character and I am sure that she will melt all the reader’s hearts. For the people that don’t know Mexico and are quite interested in it, this is an awesome book since Fitter also provides us with some facts about the country, past and its rich culture.

Don’t expect this book to be a simple historical novel, because you will find so many different topics: war, democracy, family and exploitation. You can expect a roller coaster of emotions. It is well paced and masterfully written. The Vatican Must Go is a riveting historical fiction novel that takes some intriguing character to the cusp of war against a nefarious government that attempts to abolish Catholic control over Mexico.

Pages: 363 | ASIN: B08CY1G6XK

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Subterfuge

Subterfuge (The Magdalena Series Book 4) by [Shannon Condon]

Subterfuge, by Shannon Condon, the fourth book in her action thriller series, is a story about deceit and betrayal. It is the story about Magdalena, a member of a black ops unit, who together with her team, is on an assignment to assassinate a Russian crime lord. However, soon they realize they are working for the enemy, and it is not a government contract as they were led to believe.

The narration is straightforward yet sufficiently descriptive to create vivid imagery. The author takes you on a visual journey with the characters and whatever they are doing. Also, I felt that there was a good balance between narration and dialogue between the characters. So, you get to see what they are saying and the emotions they are expressing while saying it.

The story is engaging and fast paced, with each chapter ending in some kind of suspense that will nudge you to read the next. A good author knows when, and how, to end a chapter.

What I liked most about the book is just when you think everything is going well, the author surprises you with an unexpected twist to the plot. At first, everything goes according to plan, almost too perfect. But this is a story about deception, so nothing is really as it seems.

Another thing I liked about this book is that you need not have read the other three that precede it in the series to understand it. The author provides flashbacks to help you understand the series arc in summary and gives a bit of background to each character. The interpersonal relationships between the characters also make the book much more enjoyable.

Subterfuge is a fast-paced story with twists that are rarely, if ever, expected. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

Pages: 164 | ASIN: B08D3VB9HS

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Loving Two Women

LOVING TWO WOMEN: A gripping story of love, duty, sacrifice and determination by [Matthew Lutostanski]

Loving Two Women By Matthew Lutostanski is a captivating story of love passion, and tragedy. Tadeusz thought he had lost his first love Ella during the Holocaust. Having moved on and building a new life with his wife Maria, decades later he finds out Ella is still alive. Will he be able to choose between his past love and his present love?

This alluring story is a perfect blend of romance and historical fiction. The memories that Tasdeusz, Ella, and Maria carry with them are heart wrenching and tragic. The author has written a fascinating story that brings in the drama of Tasdeusz, his two loves and the history of the holocaust. Lutostanski has done his research and it showed in each scene portraying the indescribable suffering people went through during the Holocaust. Beautifully written with vivid imagery and such detail that you feel like you are in the story.

I was invested in each character and their backstory but more so I was anxious to read more about the war. I can see this being made into a movie, the kind which the world needs right now  because of the pure true love and the chance to say all the words you wanted to say that most  people never get the chance too. Loving Two Women a romantic thriller that uses its true story roots to tell a fantastic historical romance story.

Pages: 127 | ASIN: B08DYCFXJP

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Mattie Boombalatty

Mattie Boombalatty by Wayne Gerard Trotman is a children’s illustrated short story that follows Mattie Boombalatty as she moves to a new town and falls victim to bullying by her new schoolmates. Trotman’s simple yet profound lesson about morality, combined with the book’s vivid and lively illustrations makes this a fantastic book for children.

Nhat Hao Nguyen, the illustrator of the book, is a skilled artist who makes each scene and character come to life. He uses vivid colors that pop, and his life-like yet cherub-like character illustrations add just the right amount of magic and realism to this children’s picture book. His attention to detail on each page is fantastic.

Trotman’s message about treating others who treat us lesser than we deserve is, as aforementioned, simple yet poignant. Mattie faces many anxieties that are understandable and normal for a school-aged girl. Some of her schoolmates decide for no reason that they do not like her and, as mean schoolchildren do, they make their feelings known. As distraught as she is over being taunted by her peers, she displays strength in refusing to wish them ill will, even when she comes across a glowing opportunity to get revenge. Mattie is ultimately rewarded for choosing the high road, and she reaches her happy ending in the story. While we as humans are not always rewarded for rising above our circumstances, Trotman makes it clear that the reward is not what matters – rather, the peace of mind that comes with choosing the right path is what ultimately matters.

Pages: 50 | ISBN-10: 1916184839

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Soul Seeker

Soul Seeker

Soul Seeker opens with a man on death row for the murder of his son. What seems like a heartbreaking homicide with a bleak conclusion turns into a riveting supernatural tale when the man on death row tells his lawyers the truth. A demon named Crighton killed his son. This sets the tone for a novel that is equal parts grounded and gritty with a good measure of the supernatural to keep you guessing.

What I truly enjoyed about this book was the characters. Each one is meticulously developed and evolves as the story progresses. Benjamin Poe, the dedicated father, is empathetic but strong. Crighton is the stand out character, for me, in this haunting novel. He’s Lucifer’s top soul catcher and through his introduction and story line we get to explore various ideas about morality, or the perception of morality, and the dividing line between the two. As well as how choice plays into all of it. Kaylin McFarren has done an excellent job of creating a gray area that allows your mind to wander while being absolutely thrilled by the intricate paranormal story that unfolds.

What happens when a demon and an angel fall in love? As in the beginning, I was not expecting this book to pivot to a paranormal story, and then pivot again to a romance story. Kaylin McFarren has a similar literary talent to Stephen King in her ability to introduce just the right amount of mystery into a story that keeps things eerie and the tension high. Soul Seeker is an exceptional paranormal thriller that delves into the souls of humans, demons and angels. What we uncover is surprising.

Pages: 345 | ISBN: 9798665284903

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Iron Dogs

Iron Dogs follows a group of outlaws who are wounded and on the run. They seek shelter in a deserted New Mexico town. However, they soon realize that something is seriously amiss in the town. Something evil lurks in the shadows. The band of outlaws, once the ones bringing the trouble to town, are now the ones who must fight against it. Each man is tested beyond his limits. Who, if any, will survive the evil that lurks within this desolate town.

Iron Dogs book mixes horror with action and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The story begins with Father Ramon, and immediately there are little tidbits that lead you deeper into an intricately woven story that continues to gain layers as the story progresses. The tone is set from the start, a blend of western thriller with modern horror. I could tell from the first page that the novel was setting a gritty and intense tone. The band of outlaws are close at first, but the challenges that lay ahead test their personal limits as well as the limits of their relationship when they must decide who will be sacrificed.

One of the characters, in particular, Virgil, reminded me of people I knew (in certain scenes) that had me feeling more invested. Especially as the book began to get creepier. One of the things that really thrilled me about this novel was the western feel that permeated the novel, reminiscent of George A. Romero’s gruesome and satirical horror films. Though Virgil was one of the characters who stood out the most to me, I enjoyed Frank’s character as well. As with any good book, the characters act the way they do because of inner motivations and characteristics, making the reader feel a connection to them. A word of warning Iron Dogs will pull you into the characters, but it takes a few chapters. They seem a bit shallow at first, but given time they develop into some intriguing characters.

Iron Dogs is one crazy good story. If you are a fan of riveting horror novels with plentiful action then Neil Chase has written a novel just for you.

Pages: 322 | ASIN: B07CV85D36

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Matriarch

Matriarch by [Adam Wing]

Matriarch by Adam Wing is a tale full of magic and lore. Ayla Merrill lays in her hospital bed and decides to tell her great-grandaughter Cass a story. The story is of the epic adventure of how Ayla met her deceased husband, Ollie Merrill, but this isn’t your typical love story. Ollie Merrill wanders across Turkey in search of something, but he doesn’t know what this something is. Until, of course, he has an exhilarating adventure and comes across a magical being that helps lead him to his destiny. Three wishes, unrequited love, and a magical bracelet create a whirlwind.

Talk about an emotional adventure! Adam Wing has a gift in the art of writing! This story and his writing reminded me of being a young girl and listening to my grandmother tell stories from her childhood. He immerses you into the story immediately. Even in the moments of magic and mythical mayhem, he has a way of making them feel realistic.

The world and character building are five out of five stars, especially for it only being a novella! The way he has Ayla tell the story keeps you captivated while not leaving out any significant details. Most authors struggle to do this in 300 pages, let alone 57!

Wing delves into the topics of fate, destiny, and doom. He discusses them through Ayla and Ollie’s story, showing how they work into the cycle of everyone’s lives. His poetic but comprehensible writing style gives you the ability to delve deeper into the topics while still allowing you to escape into his magical world.

A natural consequence of his exquisite world-building abilities, this book, even in its darkest moments, gives off a feeling of coziness and familiarity. This is in part because of his strong matriarchal character, Ayla. When I was reading this, I would curl up into the corner of my couch and escape into a magical land that I feel like I had been to before.

Adam Wing’s Matriarch is a wild adventure and heart-wrenching tale, with many twists and turns. This story, in particular, reminds me of the Chronicles of Narnia in the way it immerses you. Part of me wishes this book was longer, just so I could spend more time within the story’s world!

Pages: 144 | ASIN: B08193V6FG

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